Parents want home-based teaching and learning as Covid-19 cases rise

  • Nation Premium
  • Tuesday, 20 Apr 2021

PETALING JAYA: With more schools reporting cases of Covid-19, parents want to revert to home-based teaching and learning (PdPR).

While they agree that this mode of teaching and learning may not be suitable for all students, they feel it is better than subjecting their children to the threat of contracting the virus.

Fong Yit Meng said parents are worried about their children's safety and have spent more time testing their children and themselves whenever there’s news of a positive case in the school.

His son is a Year Two pupil in a Chinese vernacular school in Kuala Lumpur.

“It’s a wise move to revert to PdPR.

“We have done it for a year and the vaccination is taking place at the moment. We just need to continue with this mode of learning and persevere a little longer, ” he said, adding that his son’s school has had one positive case so far.

As a result, the attendance has dipped, he said.

Mother-of-two M. Janaki said news of other schools having to close their classrooms due to Covid-19 cases is giving her nightmares as a parent.

She too believes PdPR will be a better option in light of the current situation.

“My son is worried and prepared to have classes from home again.

“We cannot always depend on the government to provide us everything at all times, we have to find our own solutions, and we can’t blame the school and teachers.

“Parents have a role to play in helping our children through this, ” said Janaki, whose two sons study in a secondary school here.

She has been providing her sons with additional lessons as a precautionary step via online tuition classes.

Another parent, Rodney Teoh, said online lessons aren’t effective for all children and instead, suggested schools practise a rotational model.

“Schools should be closed temporarily to contain the spread of this virus and proper guidelines be given to all parents to follow if the Education Ministry insists on not closing schools.

“With the exception of exam years, let the other students and pupils enter school on alternate days, ” he said.

Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin said the ministry should give parents the leeway to decide for themselves whether they want to send their children to school or otherwise.

He also said the transmission in most schools has been brought from outside, rather than from within the school.

“The problem does not stem from schools but because people are taking the SOP (standard operating procedure) lightly.

“Let’s leave it to the professionalism of the Health and Education Ministries in assessing the situation.

“Any decision to close schools will be based on their data, ” he said.

A teacher from Subang Jaya, who wanted to be known as Siva, said returning to PdPR will be the best decision right now.

Teachers can use the PdPR 2.0 manual provided by the ministry, he added.

Earlier in February, the ministry had released the PdPR 2.0 manual to provide guidance to teachers when conducting home-based teaching and learning sessions.

The manual was to ensure that online and offline teaching approach reached the students.

“We are already used to it and can just revert to our previous timetable, ” said Siva, adding that attendance at his secondary school has dropped as parents are fearful of sending their children to school.

An English teacher at a primary school in Kuala Lumpur, who wished to be known only as Wong, said more proactive measures need to be taken by the Education Ministry to prevent exposing students and teachers to the virus.

“Enough of waiting for cases to shoot up before closing schools again, ” she said.

She added that with the new variants already in the community, the probability of getting infected is high and schools, though with SOP in place, still have a high number of people around, thus increasing the risk of infections.

National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Harry Tan said teachers can easily switch back to PdPR if necessary.

“They are better equipped today compared to a year back and so are the students, ” he added.

The Education Ministry has declined to comment.

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Covid-19 , schools , parents , PdPR , SOP , NUTP , online


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